US Open Juniors | Loffhagen beats rival Kypson in junior ranks
It was normal service resumed on Labor Day Monday for the juniors at the US Open, when the seeds mostly came through unscathed.
Britain’s George Loffhagen took out the 12th seed, however, when he upset the American, Patrick Kypson, in straight sets, 6-1 6-3.
Loffhagen, who lost a heartbreaking three-setter against Kypson in the third round at Wimbledon, came through two three-setters in qualifying to earn his spot in the main draw.
Kypson, who is the USTA 18s champion, admitted Loffhagen was the better player on the day.
Two other Brits did not fair so well.
Direct entry Aidan McHugh lost in three very tight sets to another American, the 11th-seeded Oliver Crawford, 6-4 3-6 6-4; while Jack Draper, who also came through the qualifying to fall in straight sets to Sebastian Korda, the 13th seed and son of former pro Petr Korda.
Leading the way in restoring order was the boys top seeds, Axel Geller, who stormed into the second round at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, earning the Argentine his first US Open victory.
Geller broke and held deep in the second set to seal the triumph in his first-ever match in Flushing Meadows, over American Andrew Fenty, 6-3 6-4.
The Wimbledon runner-up converted on 3-of-11 break points in the match, and that was enough to close out Fenty in 82 minutes.
The Argentine will next meet the Kalamazoo 16s champion Brandon Nakishima, who made his debut beating Repentigny Grade 1 finalist Matheus Puccinelli de Almeida of Brazil, 6-1 6-4.
“I had a really good start, I was making a lot of first serves and playing consistent,” Nakashima, a wild card into the draw, said.
“I was just trying to make him play a lot of balls, because he was missing some easy shots in the first set.”
Although he said he didn’t pay much attention to the serve clock, Nakashima did take advantage of the opportunity to receive coaching.
“I felt it helped me a lot,” said Nakashima, who has Horacio Matta serving as his coach this week.
“I was able to execute a lot of the stuff he told me during the changeovers. Nothing really too big. He just told me a couple of tendencies he saw the guy had, that he liked to hit a lot of flat serves down the T and wide.”
“It feels good to get the first match out of the way,” said Nakashima, who plays very few ITF events.
“Now I think I play the one seed, so I should be able to play free there, nothing to lose. I just have to play my best. But this definitely gives me a lot of confidence.”
Four out of the other six boys’ seeds who competed on the competition’s second day advanced to the second round in straight sets,
No 14 seed Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil was the only seeded boy aside from Kypson to lose Monday, with qualifier Jakub Paul of Switerzland beating him 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
Wu Yibing might only be 17-years-old, but the Chinese junior who hails from Hangzhou, Shejang, China knows exactly what his career aim is in tennis.
“I hope to be doing my best and try to be the first one to get to be in the top 100 from China,” Wu said.
“Sooner than later it’s going to happen.”
So far, the two best male players from China tipped the ranking scales at just below No 150 – Wu Di ranked as high as No 140 and Zhang Ze topped out at No 148.
The second-seeded Wu needed only 54-minutes to bypass Dan Added of France, 6-3 6-4, in the US Open boys’ first round.
Wu is putting together a good season at the Grand Slams this year, reaching the semi-finals of singles and doubles in Australia and the quarter-finals in singles at Wimbledon.
“It’s nice, it’s the first time I win singles at the U.S. Open,” Wu said. “It [Australia] was a great experience and it gave me a lot of confidence.”
It is not all about just playing the game for Wu, who tries to take in a bit of sightseeing at the places he goes.
“It’s a dream to play here and you can enjoy a lot, not just tennis,” Wu said.
“I enjoy New York. I enjoy the Big Apple. I go to Times Square to look around, but normally it’s like here, the hotel and some restaurants.”
Wu trains between China and Madrid, Spain, where he works with Garcia Sanchez Nahun.
No one, however, should be confused into thinking that Wu has a penchant for playing on clay courts, but he knows it will benefit his game.
“Not too much,” he said, when asked if he prefers clay. “Clay is about footwork and to have more patience to get more rallies and try to take the right chance.”
It was also a good first day in US Open action for fifth seed Marko Miladinovic of Serbia, who posted a 6-3 6-2 win over Sergio Luis Hernandez Ramirez of Colombia.
“I’m very happy about this win today because I played good,” Miladonivc said.
“I couldn’t find my rhythm in the first five games, but then I was fine. I’m very happy because this is the last Grand Slam of the year.”
The 16-year-old Belgrade native arrived in New York straight from a Grade 1 victory at the Les Internationaux de Tennis Junior Banque Nationale du Canada tournament.
In the spring he reached the final at the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio tournament in Milan, Italy.
This is only Miladinovic’s third Grand Slam junior tournament – he also competed at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year, reaching the first and second rounds, respectively.
Miladinovic admits that his preference is for clay so of the three majors he has played the juniors at his favourite is Roland Garros.
The Serbian found a path to tennis when he was six years old because his parents played the sport twice a week for fun.
Initially, it was all about fun for him, too, but then it changed.
“I wanted to have fun, but then I just started to play tournaments,” he said.
As for New York, Miladinovic is hoping to follow in Wu’s footsteps: “I haven’t been to Times Square yet, but I will go to see it today. Everybody said it is great to see.”
Wild card Trey Hilderbrand came back to eliminate Alexey Zakharov of Russia, 4-6 6-4 7-5, while other American boys advancing to Tuesday’s second round were No 7 seed Trent Bryde and unseeded Vasil Kirkov.
The No 14 seed Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil was the only seeded boy aside from Kypson to lose on Monday, with qualifier Jakub Paul of Switerzland beating him 7-5 3-6 6-4.